February 6, 2019

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LETTER: TechNet Letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Our Commitment to Combatting Climate Change

February 6, 2019

The Honorable Paul Tonko
Chairman
House Energy and Commerce Committee Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable John Shimkus
Republican Leader
House Energy and Commerce Committee Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee
2322 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Tonko and Republican Leader Shimkus:

We welcome this opportunity to submit comments for the official record of the February 6, 2019 hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee titled, “Time for Action: Addressing the Environmental and Economic Effects of Climate Change.”

TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of innovation economy CEOs and senior executives.  Our diverse membership includes dynamic American businesses ranging from startups to the most iconic companies on the planet and represents over three million employees and countless customers in the fields of information technology, e-commerce, the sharing and gig economies, advanced energy, cybersecurity, venture capital, and finance.

While we recognize there are disagreements among policymakers about the best solutions to tackle climate change, we believe growing bipartisan support for action can lead us to find some common ground and achieve meaningful progress during this Congress.

Throughout our 22-year history, we have championed policies at the federal and state levels that support advanced energy innovation and efforts to address climate change.  Our member companies are also committed to combatting climate change and are investing significantly in innovations and initiatives that not only lower their own carbon footprint but also help other companies across different sectors deploy advanced energy solutions to achieve the same goal.  

Furthermore, the following statements are enshrined in our federal policy principles: “TechNet supports advanced energy policies that foster and promote a climate for innovation.  TechNet supports market-based policies that enable companies to create, thrive, and participate in competitive energy markets in the United States and around the globe, and balanced action on climate change that accelerates the deployment of low and zero-carbon energy technologies.”

Our words have been backed by actions and policy outcomes that have accelerated the shift to advanced clean energy solutions that are making a meaningful difference in addressing global climate change.  For example, we have successfully advocated for policies increasing the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) by encouraging innovation and investment in a nationwide EV charging infrastructure; promoting the development of solar, wind, fuel cells, storage, and other forms of clean energy generation; and ensuring that consumers can purchase clean energy to lower emissions, protect the environment, and reduce the load on the electrical grid.

In 2017, TechNet successfully urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject a proposed rule that would have severely disrupted energy markets in favor of coal.  According to The Economist, “If the FERC adopted [the] rule, it would have amounted to one of the biggest government interventions in energy markets for decades, and risks frightening investors by putting the thumb on the scale for coal and introducing policy uncertainty.”  Instead, the rejection of this rule in January 2018 was an important step to promote stability and affordable pricing in power markets.

In recent years, TechNet has also been a proud member of a broad coalition working to secure annual funding for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program, which plays a unique and critical role in maintaining America’s global leadership in energy technologies. TechNet also supported restoring the Section 48 Investment Tax Credit as part of the 2018 bipartisan budget bill.  This important provision allows project owners or investors to qualify for federal business energy investment tax credits for installing designated renewable energy generation equipment placed in service between 2006 through 2024.  Since it was first enacted, this policy has helped drive the growth of the clean energy industry and reduced emissions in the electricity sector to 14 percent below 2005 levels.

Although we have achieved several policy victories, we also recognize that federal policymakers are not prioritizing these issues and have even taken steps in the wrong direction.  For example, as an industry, we were disappointed the Trump Administration abandoned the Paris Climate Accords in 2017.  Since then, evidence of climate change’s threats has only increased.  

For example, in November 2018, the Trump Administration’s own National Climate Assessment reaffirmed what we have known for some time: that inaction on climate change will harm our economy.  In addition to having environmental and economic consequences, climate change poses national security challenges as evidenced by the Department of Defense’s January 2019 report showing that at least two-thirds of the U.S. military’s installations are threatened by flooding, drought, and wildfires driven by climate change over the next two decades alone.  This is particularly concerning to us given the tech industry’s longstanding partnership with the military in advancing U.S. national security objectives.

In sum, addressing climate change is a priority for TechNet and the industry we represent.  Our membership includes not only advanced energy technology innovators, but also some of the largest energy consumers in the world.  These companies have invested in innovative technologies to meet their environmental and sustainability goals for their organizations, employees, and consumers, and their need for reliable, uninterrupted energy to power their data and transaction centers and other facilities.  Promoting these innovations at both the federal and state levels is not only in the interest of protecting our environment, it is in our economic and national security interests as well.

Thank you for considering our perspective as you hold this important hearing.  We welcome the opportunity to serve as a resource to the subcommittee, the full committee, and the U.S. House of Representatives as you and your colleagues continue examining this important issue.

Sincerely,

Linda Moore
TechNet President and CEO

CC: The Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee

The Honorable Greg Walden, Republican Leader, House Energy and Commerce Committee

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